LIFT up, Virginia Beach! Local women take action for the community they love

By Holly Henry

Virginia Beach, Va. – LIFT up, Virginia Beach!

And by LIFT — I mean, change lives, one day at a time — through fitness and nutrition education. It’s a holistic approach to improving lives.

If you haven’t heard already, LIFT is a new program that aims to touch the lives of the homeless and those in need by lifting their confidence and spirits, inspiring them to do better — and to live better, overall.

The LIFT program began in March of 2014, according to Krista White, the program’s lead coordinator. It’s part of the Jim White Community Fitness Foundation.

“I feel like with fitness and nutrition, it’s so much a passion of mine — but when you can extend it to people who are in need, just seeing the positive impact on them in so many ways — that’s what makes me want to continue doing it,” White says.

So far, the organization has held three rounds of programs: March, May, and June. The next program will begin in the fall, around September.

LIFT has been working with the Judeo-Christian Outreach Center, but starting in October, they will extend their program to the Beach House, working with those who are mentally disabled.

“It’s a 30-day program, and we basically use fitness and nutrition to motivate people,” White explains.

White says it’s not necessarily about getting people fit, but more about giving them motivation and courage to go through life, becoming better equipped to find jobs, or even just to have the confidence to go apply for a position they want.

Already, White has seen some amazing success stories. It’s something very close to her heart.

“We had one individual in our March session; he is 62 years old, and he never knew how to read or write. Because he was able to push himself through the LIFT program, he decided, okay, if I can push myself through this program, I’m now going to start teaching myself to read and write. And now he is able to read and write because of the confidence and motivation that he gained through the LIFT program.”

Krista has teamed up with The Fit Petite’s Jess Horton, who shares her passion for helping the Virginia Beach community.

The Fit Petite has helped LIFT with some of the boot camps they have done, as well as cooking classes. The women provide healthy groceries and nutrition classes to the folks in the program, and then teach them how to prepare meals and maintain a fitness routine.

“This program holds a special place in my heart,” Horton says. “Since March, LIFT volunteers like myself have been working with the homeless in Virginia Beach and helping them better their life through fitness. The LIFT program was designed to motivate individuals to become stronger physically and spiritually through fitness. Individuals participate in two group workouts per week over a month long period. LIFT participants graduate the program with tools they can use to become healthier and more successful, leading them towards the life they truly deserve to live.”

Jess Horton, owner of The Fit Petite LLC, has a love and passion for all things health and fitness. Her business has taken both of those to create an “Urban Spoon” style review process of local Virginia Beach fitness facilities. Through the LIFT program, she is able to help the community she cares so deeply about.

In fact, The Fit Petite, along with the folks at lululemon athletica Virginia Beach, recently held a fundraiser, in which a portion of the proceeds went to benefit LIFT.

“We’re going to use that money to continue with our program this year,” White says.

For more information on LIFT, click here: http://www.jwfitnessfoundation.com/

For more information on The Fit Petite, click here: http://thefitpetite.com/home/

For more information on the Judeo-Christian Outreach Center, click here: http://www.jcoc.org/

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